Revenge of the Nerds
Old wounds were pried open this morning with the announcement of Tech Homecoming, an event sponsored by the likes of Bing and Sailthru that promises to immediately launch members of New York’s tech community into a painful round of high school reminiscences.
The event includes everything that made you long for sweet, sweet escape to college the first time around: a most popular contest, something called “football” and an awkward dance where hopefully Mayor Bloomberg will be on hand as chaperone, to chastise you for “bump and grinding.”
We look forward to dodging the mandatory pep rally in favor of dicking around in the debate office, right next to the computer lab full of engineers who were conspicuously absent from the list of honorees, probably because they were too busy–pardon the expression–fucking shipping.
Because, in all seriousness, for an industry compromised of people who try their damndest to avoid conventional wisdom, putting everyone in little boxes (literally!) feels painfully retrograde. There’s a reason we said tech needs to get uncool again.
The journey from blog to book is well-trod ground for New York City’s literary aspirants. (Half of Urban Outfitters’ book selection, it seems, got its start as an acerbic single-serving Tumblr.) But, it’s not a career path you see startup founders attempt to cross. “Truthfully, I don’t think most people in tech even know I have this book coming out,” Texts from Last Night cofounder Lauren Leto confessed over the phone last week.
Surprise or not, Judging a Book By Its Lover: A Field Guide to the Hearts and Minds of Readers Everywhere, her collection of essays on the culture of fiction reading, goes on sale today from Harper Perennial, the paperback unit of HarperCollins with a reputation for publishing work by promising young authors.
The idea started with a blog post Ms. Leto published in 2010 called ”Reader by Author,” which was picked up by Observer alum Foster Kamer, then Gawker’s weekend editor. In it, Ms. Leto offered funny snap judgements about personality quirks based on reader’s favored author (for example, “Maureen Dowd: Women who remember fondly the first time they got their period.”)
You didn’t think we’d forgotten, did you? It’s Friday afternoon, which means it’s
Reverse-Reverse Sexism Still wondering what $50 and an App.net membership will get you (besides
Wedding bells On the mergers front, we hear that serial cofounder and investor Zack Klein recently married girlfriend Courtney Lewis, a partner at Hard Candy Shell. The pair booked Read More
Teach Me How to Startup
Less than a day since it switched out of private beta, Branch is already proving that its civilized discussion platform can house more than dry tech speculation or a chorus of bubble cant. Today, fellow Betaworker Lauren Leto used to platform to ask the question burning up literary hearts across New York City: Fuck, Marry, Kill the Jonathans (i.e. authors Jonathan Franzen, Jonathan Safran Foer, and Jonathan Lethem).
Lauren Leto, founder of startup Banters, has announced that the service will no longer be actively developed beginning June 1. Leto explains the decision in the Banters blog:
Unfortunately while our community has been incredibly passionate (and often hilarious), it hasn’t grown as much as we’d hoped. In light of this, on June 1st, Read More
So Refresh and So Clean
Lauren Leto and Patrick Moberg thought they’d be using the name “Bnter” for oh, maybe six months at most before they could secure the dot-com with the proper spelling from a tight-fisted IBM (why?). But unable to secure the domain, the team and their three employees decided it was time for more vowels. Bnter, the conversation tracker, is now Banters, which happens to be hip U.K. slang. “I think ‘Banters’ is cool,” Ms. Leto told Betabeat, noting in an email that “it’s easier to remember and spell, and people will know how to pronounce it.”
BNTER ADOPTS THE MAKERY. Matt Langer, former GroupMe contractor, recently became Matt Langer, real GroupMe employee, even though his mug is still missing from GroupMe’s page of surprisingly unflattering team headshots. Mr. Langer is settling happily into his new environs, comforted by the security of staff meetings and welcome wedgies from senior GroupMes.
But what became of the beloved Brooklyn coworking space Mr. Langer bore, groomed and subsidized out of his own pocket? The Makery will continue as a coworking space, but is not accepting new tenants, Betabeat learned. Makery resident Bnter, headed by co-founders Lauren Leto and Patrick Moberg, has taken over the lease, Ms. Leto said. “It’s Bnter offices, but everyone is still here,” she told Betabeat. “As people leave, we will not replace them, because Bnter is growing weekly.” The startup has four employees now and will have five as of October 17, and probably seven by the end of the year, Ms. Leto said. “So weekly isn’t true,” she amended. “Ha, my math is lovely.”
The Makery officially closed on Sept. 1, Mr. Langer said, which coincided with the space’s one-year anniversary. “I was so happy to let it go because I was just losing so much money on it,” Mr. Langer said. “Like SO MUCH.” (We were speaking on Gchat.) “PEACE OUT, $500 CON ED BILLS.”
The Tao of Steve
After the news about Apple founder Steve Jobs death broke last night, Betabeat reached out to a few members of the New York tech community and asked them to share their thoughts and impressions of the ultimate CEO. Here’s what they had to say:
By nature, entrepreneurs have no interest in abiding by the status quo. So predictably, when it comes to the Manhattan power lunch, they choose to do things a little differently from their old media and Wall Street brethren. Silicon Alley Insider has put together a list of where New York techies wine and dine in the daytime—consider it an update on a similar Dinevore list First Round Capital’s Charlie O’Donnell did last November.
The Third Degree
Lauren Leto is co-founder of Texts from Last Night and Bnter.
Q: What are the best and worst things about New York’s tech scene?
Best: I run into fellow entrepreneurs all over the city! Worst: I run into fellow entrepreneurs all over the city!